China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held a special foreign ministers' meeting on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak here Thursday to discuss coordinating efforts in fighting the epidemic.
The meeting was co-chaired by Wang Yi, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister, and Teodoro Locsin, Foreign Secretary of the Philippines, the country coordinator of China-ASEAN relations.
The meeting kicked off by playing a video clip showing Chinese people's concerted efforts to fight the COVID-19 outbreak and leaders of the 10 ASEAN countries showing firm support to China.
The ministers made a rallying cry of "Stay strong, Wuhan! Stay strong, China!" at a joint photo session.
During the meeting, Wang elaborated on the strong measures taken and the remarkable results achieved by China to battle the epidemic.
Under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping, 1.4 billion Chinese people have united to fight the virus, Wang said.
China has adopted the most comprehensive, the most stringent and the most thorough preventive measures to establish a prevention system that is effectively stopping the disease from spreading, Wang said.
The measures, implemented with the "China speed", have bought time for promptly saving patients and allowed the world to properly respond to the outbreak, showing China's role as a responsible major country, he said.
"We firmly believe that under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and with the country's strong mobilizing ability, its system advantage and the overall national strength, China has the ability and confidence to completely defeat the epidemic as soon as possible," Wang said.
The COVID-19 outbreak has posed challenges to China's economic and social development, but only in a temporary and limited way. Given the resilience and vitality of China's economy, the long-term positive economic trend would not change, he noted, adding that China will not only win the battle against the virus, but also endeavor to achieve its economic and social development goals.
Epidemics see no boundaries, Wang said. Sharing a common future as brothers, China and ASEAN countries should effectively prevent the disease from spreading by carrying out closer and more active cooperation, so as to safeguard the health and lives of the people and to forge a closer China-ASEAN community of a shared future, he said.
In this regard, Wang made a four-point cooperation proposal.
Firstly, both sides should strengthen coordination for joint disease prevention and control. Efforts should be made to push forward the effective coordination and cooperation between health, quarantine, transport and immigration departments of both sides. The China-ASEAN special leaders' meeting on coronavirus disease should be held at a proper time to outline and guide the cooperation efforts from a higher level.
Secondly, both sides should take a long-term perspective and establish long-acting cooperation mechanism. He proposed to establish a China-ASEAN public health emergency communication mechanism and a China-ASEAN anti-epidemic material reserve center to speed up the response against emergent health issues.
Thirdly, both sides should rationally deal with this epidemic and conquer panic. The professional advice from WHO experts should be respected, and the normal exchanges and cooperation among trade and commerce personnel between the two sides should be restored comprehensively at an ealier date.
Fourthly, both sides should turn the crisis into opportunity and foster new cooperation growth points. ASEAN and China should push the economy to transform into an Internet and digital economy, enhance cooperation in areas such as digital commerce and mobile payment, and improve cities' management level to better cope with major urgent public incidents.
Foreign ministers of ASEAN countries all highly appreciate China's firm measures to fight the novel coronavirus epidemic, and its highly responsible and transparent manner. They fully affirmed China's important contribution to safeguarding regional and global public health security, and believed the Chinese side is abound to defeat the epidemic at the earliest date.
ASEAN countries are willing to strengthen cooperation and solidarity with China, exchange experiences and jointly promote the ability on health security in the region, they said.
The meeting also adopted a statement on the coronavirus disease 2019.
At the joint press conference after the meeting, Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith said at the special meeting, ASEAN foreign ministers, and the Chinese state councilor and foreign minister had jointly and comprehensively reviewed the joint efforts and commitments and charted future direction to further prevent and respond to the outbreak of COVID-19.
"We have also shared with each other the best practices, lessons learnt and effective methods in surveillance, detecting and researches," he added.
Source: China � ASEAN Business Council